“Customer’s perception is the brand’s reality”
: Understanding Generation Z’s Perception of and Response to Brands Engaging in Brand Activism Focusing on Racism

  • Haya Hejazi
  • Linnea Larsson

Student thesis: Bachelor


A global shift from CSR to brand activism is taking place and brands feel pressured to take an unbiased stand in socio-political issues such as racism. Mindful stakeholders demand that brands become activist, and the most demanding consumer segment is Gen Z. Brand activism is when a brand takes a stance on a socio-political issue, and to the opposite from CSR brand activism is risky. Some of the risks brand activism results in is the unwanted boycott behavior and damaged brand reputation. The purpose of this thesis is to understand Gen Z’s perception of and response to brands taking a stand in racism. To carry out this study, three focus groups were conducted. We found that Gen Z’s perception of brand activism indeed influenced their purchase behaviors. We presented the importance for brands to understand Gen Z’s thoughts and view on activist brands that take a stance in racism. We explained how the perception influenced Gen Z’s purchase behaviors. Our findings showed that positive perception of brand activism engaged in racism resulted in positive purchase behaviors for Gen Z, such as support or boycott. On contrast, negative perception resulted in boycott behaviors for Gen Z.
Date of Award2022-Jun
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorChristian Koch (Supervisor) & Heléne Tjärnemo (Examiner)

Educational program

  • Degree of Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics

Courses and Subjects

  • International business and marketing

University credits

  • 15 HE credits

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Business Administration (50202)


  • Brand activism
  • generation Z
  • racism
  • perception
  • purchase behavior

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